News / Middle East

Support Plummets for Egypt's Morsi

Egyptians chant slogans during clashes between supporters and opponents of Egypt's president and his Muslim Brotherhood in Luxor, Egypt, June 19, 2013.
Egyptians chant slogans during clashes between supporters and opponents of Egypt's president and his Muslim Brotherhood in Luxor, Egypt, June 19, 2013.
Mohamed Elshinnawi
A year after being elected president and almost three years since Egypt was rocked by the Arab Spring uprisings, Mohamed Morsi is increasingly in trouble with the nation’s electorate and, possibly, its military.

When Morsi took office last year, his public approval rating stood at 57 percent, with most saying he and his Muslim Brotherhood party were “a positive development.”

But with the economy in shambles and the electorate increasingly wary of the Muslim Brotherhood’s intentions, a new public opinion poll conducted by Zogby Research Services (ZRS) now rates Morsi’s approval at 28 percent.

Even the general Morsi appointed as defense minister and army chief is warning that the military may have to intervene if the government and its opponents can’t reconcile their differences before massive anti-government demonstrations scheduled next Sunday
.
The Zogby poll gauged the opinions of 5,029 Egyptian adults between April 4th and May 12th, 2013.  It concluded that almost all of the 28 percent voicing approval for Morsi were identified with his Muslim Brotherhood party or other Islamists like the Al Nour Salafi party.

Significantly, the poll indicated more than 70 percent of the electorate are now concerned that "the Muslim Brotherhood is keen to Islamize the state and control its executive powers."

Muslim Brotherhood seen as overreaching

But the polling also showed that the public considers Egypt’s political opposition groups such as the National Salvation Front and the April 6th Movement splintered and poorly organized. Even when considered together, the opposition could claim the confidence of only 35 percent of the adult population, while 40 percent of the electorate appeared to have no confidence in either the government or any of the opposition parties.

The poll also looked at who might step in as president if Morsi falters and gauged the popularity of nine potential leaders, including all those who head major parties or who ran for president against Morsi. None were viewed as credible by more than a third of the electorate.

The only person showing significant support was Bassem Yousef, a popular TV satirist who has been charged by the government with insulting the presidency and Islam.

But the most remarkable number in the polling by far was the 94 percent approval rating given the army, which won strong support from all sectors and parties. Those who supported opposition parties and Egypt's so-called “silent majority” also indicated they would like to see the army play a larger role in society.

Few were surprised then when General Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, the army chief who also serves as defense minister, warned over the weekend that the military was prepared to step in if liberal and Islamist supporters clash violently in next Sunday’s scheduled demonstrations.
   
El-Sissi said the military would then be obligated to intervene to prevent Egypt from plunging into “a dark tunnel.”

“Egypt is in crisis,” concluded pollster James Zogby. “The economy is in shambles with no clear direction, rights are being eroded, and a minority-supported party controls the power over a deeply fractured polity.”

What is next in Egypt?

But Zogby and other experts on Egypt say Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, with its superior organizational abilities, will remain hard to challenge politically.

FILE - Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi speaks to reporters at the Presidential palace in Cairo, July 13, 2012.FILE - Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi speaks to reporters at the Presidential palace in Cairo, July 13, 2012.
x
FILE - Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi speaks to reporters at the Presidential palace in Cairo, July 13, 2012.
FILE - Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi speaks to reporters at the Presidential palace in Cairo, July 13, 2012.
“The movement (the Brotherhood) doesn't need to be popular if it continues its ability to rally its followers around a cause and to the ballot box,” said Zogby. “Until the opposition builds an organization that can compete, the Islamists could remain on top.”

One unknown factor in this equation is the so-called Tamarrod (rebel) movement, which says it has collected 15 million signatures on a petition voicing "no confidence" in Morsi, who won the presidency with 13 million votes. The petition campaign has accused the Morsi administration of "failing to implement promised policies that improve the life of ordinary people."

The Zogby poll also looked asked about potential support for new parliamentary elections, an idea put forward by the Islamic parties. But Zogby’s polling indicated the idea is rejected by most other Egyptians, with a substantial majority saying that they do not believe new elections would be fair or transparent. The opposition, and a majority of the electorate, strongly favors drawing up a new constitution, an idea is rejected by supporters of the main Islamic parties.

The only proposal that receives near unanimous support from all groups is the convening of "a real national dialogue,” though how this could be carried out and what it could achieve remain vague.

Is there a role for the U.S.?

Though many believe the Tamarrod movement could spark the kind of government-changing events of the Arab Spring in 2011, few are convinced events would develop in the same way again.

“The Obama administration is not expected to repeat its support for another popular uprising,” said Zogby, “but rather might call for continued efforts to build the democratic institutions and conduct parliamentary elections.”

Marina Ottaway, a senior scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington, argues that the only thing the U.S. can do is to encourage Egypt’s secular opposition to organize and be ready to achieve better showing in any new parliamentary elections.

You May Like

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: ahmed Medhat Fahmy. from: central coast California.
June 24, 2013 7:10 PM
I'm sorry to inform you that the numbers you speak of and statistics are false. A big portion of the eligible voters inEgypt and abroad boycotted the elections when they were given the American version of democratic elections ( THE BEST OF 2 EVILS ) ! Having an exe air force man from Mobarak's regime and the muslim brotherhood as the top candidates was not what the demand of the revolution were. It was rather the counter revolution and the back up plan to counter the arab spring in action. Did you think Egyptians ever approved being ruled by backwards fundamentalists ?! Do you still believe everything your government sources tell you. When is journalism in the west going to break the chains of propaganda and absolute obedience ?! Egypt was given the brotherhood as punishment for embarrassing the old regime and the military that backed it. It was a a very well planned passive agressive response to the revolution. A terror and pacification tactic till they came up with a plan for damage control.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More